A famous author once said you can never go home again, but Michael Waltrip plans to do just that this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
And it won’t be anything low key.
The 49-year-old Owensboro, Ky. native will wear the blue and white of his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats. The two-time Daytona 500 champion will honor the 2012 NCAA basketball champions as he seeks his first Sprint Cup start in front of his home state fans.
Waltrip enjoys many roles in NASCAR. He’s a television commentator for Fox and SPEED-TV broadcasts, a part-time Sprint Cup driver and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing that won last weekend’s race on the Sonoma road course with driver Clint Bowyer. All three MWR teams are in the top 12 in owner points.
WALTRIP ON UK: “I have been a UK (University of Kentucky) fan ever since I was a kid. I grew up in Owensboro watching UK basketball. They would always show it tape delayed after the 10:30 p.m. newscast. I was fortunate to go to several games in my life. Clint Bowyer and I even went to the national championship game in New Orleans when they beat Kansas. I will have to say, it’s really cool for a Kentucky guy to have UK on my car racing in Kentucky.”
PART-TIME SCHEDULE: My schedule is really cool. I get to race on the tracks that I love (Kentucky, Daytona, Talladega). Kentucky was one of the races that I really wanted on my schedule. I know my name is on the building but the No. 55 really belongs to Mark Martin. It’s was really nice of Mark to let me drive this race. We will go to Kentucky and get the best finish we can get. I am honored to have the UK logos on my Aaron’s Toyota.
WALTRIP ON MWR: “I will never forget back in 2005 when I was driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and I thought life was great, Toyota came to me and said we are going Cup racing, why don't you join us? I thought, well, that would be fun and give me something else to do. So, we started and golly it's been so fun to have that relationship. Think about NAPA, they have been around since 2001 and Aaron's since 2000. It's because we are friends, we are buddies, that we do this together. Since 2005 with Toyota as well. Those type of partnerships and relationships are the only reason why I'm still in business today. It took us a while to get cars like we have now and the strategy and the philosophy to race the way we are now. I'm just eternally grateful Toyota gave us the time needed to be successful. To sit in Sonoma as winners of that event, and more than that, just contenders week-in-and-week-out is amazing. We are very grateful and very thankful team.”